Last Thursday morning, I was plopped in a chair at the business administration building at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. No, I haven’t decided to return to school. But I have decided to get involved with our student chapter. Why? Because they need it.
It wasn’t too long ago that I was a recent graduate. Fresh from the college experience, I searched dutifully for my first HR position. Since we’re all professionals here, I’ll go ahead and say it: it’s pretty darn hard to get your first job in HR. Most jobs require experience, and experience only comes after you get a job. It’s a catch-22.
Anyway, back to the student chapter. They need some leadership. They need some mentoring. Because while some of them may have experience as interns, not every company treats their entry level workers as they should. And they are going to be the next generation of HR professionals.
It doesn’t take much time. Get in touch with your local SHRM chapter. Find out if you can mentor a student, speak at a student chapter meeting, or even act as the liaison between the professional and student chapters. Decide how much time you have to spare and go for it. I guarantee it will make you proud of your profession.
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Excellent points. Target the local professional chapter and state council for support. We are fortunate in Wisconsin that both the Green Bay Area Chapter as well as the Wisconsin State SHRM Council are both very supportive of students and student chapters.
GBSHRM has provided speakers to many of our student chapter meetings, as well as support job shadowing, mentoring, and plant tours. In addition, every February they offer a Sponsor-A-Student night, where a local professional pairs up with a student and sponsors that student’s dinner.
Finally, local SHRM chapters earn credit toward their SHRM merit award by getting involved with the student chapter.
Its a win-win proposition.
Well said Ben! Mentoring is part of our Community Relations Committee down here in the Birmingham chapter, BSHRM. Part of the 09 initiative was to be more involved in high schools and local colleges. The committee partnered with Strayer University and spoke a few times to the students about real world HR issues. Mentoring has also been a hot topic within the Committee and the chapter has hosted workshops on better mentoring and internship programs.
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